If you are to believe the comment section of nearly any popular news site, you will quickly see how that seems to be a race to the bottom. The ability to hide behind screens and keyboards seems to give people free reign to troll, abuse, and belittle others without having to face the consequences of doing so. However, that isn't always the case. What you say or do online can (and sometimes should) be used against you in a court of law. While most people have good intentions and don't want to hurt anyone, just one thing you say in the heat of the moment could land you in legal trouble. Plan what actions you'll take in advance to play it safe and stay out of trouble.

Assume Everyone You Know Will Read Your Post

Never post anything online that you would not want everyone in your life to see. If it wouldn't be something you'd like posted as a headline or in a national article about your life, don't put it on the internet. Anything you post online can be traced back to you, whether it's the log-in to your accounts, your search history, or your IP address. Nothing online is ever truly anonymous, and you still have the responsibility for what you say.

Only Air Your Complaints Offline

If you want to criticize someone you know, don't post a critical status update on social media. Even if you want to cut all ties with the person, blasting them online only antagonize them and escalate your initial issues. Additionally, you could be sued for defamation of character or perhaps even aggravated harassment. So, if you have negative things to say to someone, gather the courage to say it to their face. Publishing a nasty post about them for all to consume will only make you look bad.

Never Post Jokes About Criminal Actions

No matter how angry you get about a new story, never post your instant gut reaction if it's full of rage, and you want to openly threaten to kill the criminal who did the offending action. Don't make jokes about threatening to hurt someone you know, either. It may seem funny, but it could lead to cops knocking on your door to make an arrest. A threat is a threat, and tone is very hard to tell in many online posts.

Finally, keep in mind that no amount of venting will be worth the potential loss of your freedom. If you don't want to find yourself hiring a criminal defense lawyer to represent you in court because an online comment got you in hot water with the legal system, play it safe. Before you publish anything online, think carefully before hitting "send" or "post". Contact a team of criminal defense lawyers if you find yourself in legal trouble.